According to pollsters young people are leaving the church in unprecidented numbers. The question is why?
I’d summarize it as, either schools are teaching things that blunt religious belief, or, organized religion is not reacting properly to what children learn in school. Or, maybe both.
Children today learn critical thinking in school. Part of critical thinking is learning to separate what is largely regarded as fact from what is considered opinion.
I would guess that when young people then go to church, or, listen to their parents, and hear teachings from the Bible considered facts but are not varifiable and thus must be considered opinion, their skepticism tenicles rise.
An example would be the virgin birth in Bethlehem. There are many reasons to conclude this did not happen.
Here is where the Church could reach young people. If every preacher and parent this Christmas would say, “There are reasons to conclude the virgin birth in Bethelem did not happen. Nevertheless, it’s a warm and fuzzy idea that has been passed down and we celebrate it,” there would be hope for the church.
Instead, such thinking is a sin in many branches of the faith. The hammer comes down on doubt.
I visit a liberal church where much of the teaching treats the major Bible stories as myth. The Pastor’s lessons are peppered with, “This is what I take from the story.”
Critical thinking is not a sin there and the church is doing well. It seems so clear to me all churches should do the same.